With the 2012 Sprint Cup series finally coming to a close, all eyes will be on Brad Keselowski once the 2013 season starts.
He managed to beat Jimmie Johnson, and only in his third full-time year, Keselowski has proven to be a top driver.
If he continues to do what he has been doing in the sport, Brad can be the next big thing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.
It's not easy for a driver to become the next big thing, and only several drivers have managed to do it. Still, with the success Keselowski has had this year, and the fan following he has now, he definitely has the potential to be big in NASCAR.
He did finally managed to get Roger Penske his first NASCAR championship, something Penske has been trying to get for years.
With many more years still left in Keselowski's career, don't be surprised to see him become the next big thing in NASCAR.
Brad Keselowski has helped usher NASCAR into the social media age.
He has used Twitter to gain a massive fan following, which has helped open NASCAR to more of an audience. Using social media to his advantage has clearly given Keselowski the possibility to be the next big thing.
He has tons of fans behind him, so when he won the championship, it was extremely good for NASCAR. As long as he can maintain a solid relationship with the fans, Keselowski can be the next big thing in NASCAR.
All of the top drivers in the sports history have received huge reactions from the fans. Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr. are prime examples of this.
In a world dominated by social media, Keselowski being a part of it brings him closer to the fans and makes him seem like a driver that people can relate to.
NASCAR might seem counter-productive in the way they recently fined Keselowski for using his phone in a car during a red flag stop at Phoenix, but as long as Keselowski remains a big part of social media, he will always be a fan favorite.
Having the fans on your side as a driver is one part in becoming the next big thing.
Behind every great driver is a great crew and crew chief.
For Brad Keselowski, it is no different.
Paul Wolfe and the team behind the 2 car were spot on for the 2012 season, which played a big part in getting Keselowski the championship.
Wolfe has known what to do under pressure and has the whole fuel mileage game figured out. Keselowski has been able to stretch his fuel in several races, and it's not only given him the win, but great position when he’s needed it.
While things like being a fan-favorite driver can help in making a driver the next big thing, winning races and championships proves it.
Keselowski and Wolfe work extremely well together, deciding when to pit and working together to make the right calls.
The team behind the 2 car is also a huge part in Keselowski's success, being almost flawless in pit road during The Chase.
“I think we’ve shown growth in this team and we’ve shown improvement from the beginning of the season," said Paul Wolfe over at AOLsportingnews.com.
Clearly after winning the title, the 2 team has grown.
They have been a major key to Keselowski's success, and with those people behind him, Brad has the potential to become the next big thing in NASCAR.
To be the man, you need to beat the man.
That's exactly what Keselowski did this 2012 season.
As The Chase was coming down to Johnson vs. Keselowski, it was turning out to be a David vs. Goliath story.
Would Brad and the 2 team crack under the pressure leading up to the season finale like other drivers before him had? Would Jimmie Johnson manage to get the best of Keselowski, or would he be able to remain calm and collected regardless of going up against a five time champion?
Yes, Keselowski was an underdog, but he and the 2 team remained calm and were able to deliver under a lot of pressure.
If Brad is going to be the next big thing in NASCAR, he needs to beat the more experienced, veteran drivers that stand in his way.
Winning the championship this season was a great start because Brad was able to beat one of the best in NASCAR and prove that he is ready to handle any challenge thrown at him.
More drivers will undoubtedly try and overcome Keselowski now that he has won the championship. In order for Brad to be the next big thing, he has to keep beating the best.
Keselowski is in an elite group with Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon of drivers who won a championship within three years of being a full-time Sprint Cup driver.
He is already standing out above other drivers and needs to continue to stand out to be the next big thing.
Keselowski isn't afraid to speak his mind, which also helps him stand out as a driver. He felt strongly about the Gordon/Bowyer incident at Phoenix, and wasn't afraid to speak his mind.
His attitude translates into how he drives as well. Keselowski seemed to be the center of attention after banging doors with Jimmie Johnson at Texas.
However, that's exactly what NASCAR needs. NASCAR needs another driver who isn't afraid to race hard, and is willing to try and put everything on the line to go for the win.
Of course Keselowski isn't the only driver to speak his mind, or race hard. However, how he does it makes him stand out above the crowd. You don't see Keselowski retaliating against other drivers like Kyle Busch did last year in the Camping World Series, or even how Gordon put Bowyer into the wall at Phoenix.
He doesn't let his temper get the best of him, and while he may go off on a rant, he knows how to still conduct himself.
This is how Keselowski sets himself apart from other drivers, and how he stands above the crowd. If he continues to stand out, Keselowski will easily be the next big thing in NASCAR.
Part of Keselowski's success in winning the championship this season has come from his winning attitude.
In an era of NASCAR where drivers seem more concerned about saving their cars throughout a race, only to make a push at the end, Keselowski has brought a different approach.
He pushes for the win throughout the race instead of trying to save his car until the very end. He has pushed himself and the 2 car in every race in The Chase, and it's part of the reason he won the championship on Sunday.
Keselowski simply needed to finish 15th or better going into Homestead. However, Brad was not interested in simply riding around in the middle of the pack and was instead entering Homestead with the same mind set he had in every other Chase race.
He was quoted over at CBSsports.com by Pete Pistone as saying:
Well, I've been going for the championship all my life, and specifically this particular one for the last nine races. So Homestead pays the same amount of points as Chicago did and the same amount of points that Martinsville did when Jimmie won. It's the same, and there's no reason to change that approach.
Keselowski's attitude has been all about winning and pushing to the front of every race in The Chase. It's why he was able to finish better than his average finish on almost every track in The Chase.
Brad goes for the win instead of trying to preserve his car. He didn't need to push for the win at Homestead, but he was ready to try and win the race anyway.
In an era where drivers are worried about saving their cars, Keselowski is focused more on winning. His attitude will help Keselowski be the next big thing in NASCAR.